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A Syrian child born in an earthquake was adopted by his aunt and uncle

A Syrian child born in an earthquake was adopted by his aunt and uncle
A Syrian child born in an earthquake was adopted by his aunt and uncle


JANDRES, Syria, Feb 18 (Reuters) – A baby girl born in northern Syria during this month’s devastating earthquake was reunited on Saturday with her aunt and uncle after the deaths of her parents and siblings in the disaster.

Footage widely circulated on social media after the quake showed a rescuer scrambling down a hill of rubble, holding a small child covered in dust.

The newborn was later identified as the child of Abdullah and Afraa Mleihan, who died in the earthquake along with their other children in the rebel-held town of Jandris in Syria’s Aleppo province.

The child was treated in Jihan Hospital, located in the western Afrin region, which is also under opposition control, until the paramedics were able to verify the identities of her relatives.

On Saturday, her aunt Hala and her uncle, Khalil Al-Sawadi, finally married Khalil Al-Sawadi, their niece, whom they named Afra, after her deceased mother.

“This girl means a lot to us because there is no one left in her family besides this child. It will be a memory for me and her aunt and for all our relatives in her mother’s and father’s village,” Sawadi told Reuters.

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In one arm he carried Afra wrapped in a pink blanket, while he held his newborn baby girl Ataa, wrapped in blue, in the other. Ataa was born three days after the earthquake, and Al-Sawadi said he would raise them together.

“There were legal procedures to confirm the genetic relationship, as well as a DNA test,” he told Reuters.

More than 5,800 people were killed across Syria as a result of the February 6 earthquake, the largest in the opposition-held north which has already suffered years of bombing since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria in 2011.

The earthquake also left more than 39,000 people dead in Turkey.

Jandris, where Al-Sawadi lives, is one of the hardest-hit towns in the rebel-held parts of the north. Other children there were left orphaned by the earthquake, having survived years of bombing in the nearly 12-year war ravaging Syria.

Government-held cities were also badly damaged. A woman gave birth to a baby in Aleppo during the earthquake that she said “brought her back to life”.

(Reporting by Khalil Ashawi). Written by Maya Jebaili. Editing by David Holmes

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.




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